For an online casino player, the most important thing is to ensure they’re not being cheated. One of the key factors in this is the presence of a casino license. If it’s not present, this option should not even be considered because it’s undoubtedly a scam. That said, one should remain vigilant in any case, as even among licensed operators, there are those who don’t mind cheating.
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What’s the difference between licensed and unlicensed online casinos?
Naturally, the main difference between them lies in the authorization to provide services. It’s always better when a company is registered in at least some jurisdictions. A license requires expenditure, certain criteria for attainment, and has some level of control, which is why operators value it. Unlike unlicensed casinos, they have something to lose and something to fear.
The second difference is that game developers and companies that distribute their games won’t cooperate with unlawful entities. Therefore, when there’s no license, it can be assumed that the games there are also fake. Meaning, the operator could manipulate the payouts by deceiving the players.
Unlicensed casinos do not care about their reputation. They can change their name and start from scratch effortlessly. Licensed yet unscrupulous operators may also resort to changing names, but it’s more challenging, which is why most of them care about maintaining their reputation.
Licenses Don’t Guarantee Reliability
Don’t assume that a license guarantees the honesty and reliability of a casino. It doesn’t. There are various licenses, and not all of them are equally good. Of course, robust and reliable licenses are best for players. However, they are more expensive, so unregulated markets often see operators registering in jurisdictions with less control.
Malta is a key jurisdiction for operators targeting international audiences. A Maltese license holds significant value because the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) oversees order and provides protection for players.
As of 2018, the MGA stopped accepting player complaints, delegating this task to dedicated Alternative Dispute Resolution services. Every operator is required to connect to one of these services, accepting and processing player complaints, while the regulatory authority supervises the process by reviewing these service reports.
Curacao is a popular choice for gambling operators–it’s cheap and less supervised. A large number of individuals operate under a Curacao license, but the jurisdiction has a bad reputation due to a lack of control over operators. Many casinos licensed in Curacao are, in themselves, honestly operated. But the lack of control does not prevent other operators from running dubious businesses.
Players need to read very carefully every unfamiliar casino holding a Curacao license to avoid falling into those with unfair gaming tendencies. They should also keep in mind that in the event of a dispute, they will have no access to the regulatory authority or official bodies. They’ll likely have to resolve the issue themselves.
Many players may be surprised, but in Curacao, the issuance of online gambling licenses is not overseen by a regulatory authority but managed by four private companies. And only one of them, m88, is willing to assist players in resolving casino-related issues, although they indicate that it’s not their direct duty.
How to Check for a License?
For instance, you can visit the m88 official website, check the footer for a licensing link! You can read more about this process here. In short, every website, typically in the footer, should have a link to a license verification page. This page should be on the official website owned by the licensor, not anywhere else. The page will show the casino’s name, domain, license status, and types of services provided.
To ensure the authenticity of the license, make sure that the confirmation page mentioned by the casino does indeed belong to the regulatory or licensing authority. Check each letter, as some scammers create fake sites with very similar addresses and hang fake license confirmations there.
What to Watch Out For Even in Licensed Casinos?
Deliberate withdrawal delays are a feature of dishonesty, even amongst licensed operators. Here, the concern is that withdrawals are deliberately delayed, disadvantaging players. Players are unable to get through verification for an extended period, or withdrawals simply don’t come for a long time.
Not every withdrawal delay is intentional. There indeed might be issues that the casino cannot influence when problems occur in terms of payment systems. In Russia, this issue is particularly relevant as the authorities try to prevent gambling operators from receiving deposits and withdrawals. However, all interested operators eventually found solutions.
False gambling. This is typically a feature of unlicensed casinos, but even those with licenses can cheat. They stuff fake goods into the original slot machines so that players won’t notice anything. This practice is rare, but there are real cases.
If you suspect the casino has such a scam, it’s very easy to check. Just look at the server that loads the game. If the server belongs to the developer, everything is normal. If not, then the slot machine is fake.
Manipulating terms and conditions. Players usually do not read the casino rules, and dishonest operators take advantage of this by adding unfair terms and conditions. So, take a look at this document and pay special attention to withdrawal rules. A casino being licensed does not mean its terms and conditions are fair. The best thing is to check what you are agreeing to.
Also, read the rules and conditions of bonuses carefully. There are different bonus betting rules, and you can violate them and lose your funds, for example, there is a maximum bet that cannot be exceeded when playing with a bonus, and there is a list of prohibited games. Casinos can set limits to prevent players from violating these rules. But some do not do this and then cancel the won bonuses and points.